Wyoming Area has some holes to fill in its girls soccer lineup, but the return of Caitlin Butchko for her fourth season as goalkeeper gives the team hope of overcoming those challenges.
Butchko is a returning coaches all-star, who coach Nikki Sitkowski described as the number-one goalie in the Wyoming Valley Conference last season.
“We brought in a lot of talented youth players this year,” Sitkowski said. “Our team’s going to be relatively young and our back four defenders are going to be very young.”
Junior Casey McNew, who is entering her third year as starter, is the veteran leader of that group. Senior Kara Dooner has some varsity experience, including a few starts at forward last season. Sophomore Sidney Johnson started most of last year.
Freshmen Abigail Yatsko, Sarah McCormick and Sydney Maguire complete a group of six players who were handle the bulk of the playing time at the four defensive positions.
Junior Erica Gallagher and sophomore Aleah Kranson return to two of the three spots in the midfield for the 4-3-3 alignment.
Freshman Tierney Porfirio is likely to fill the other spot although another freshman, Caitlin McDonough, will also figure into significant playing time at either midfield or forward.
Senior Leah Moore and junior Bella Waltz each have some experience at forward where freshmen Amanda McCormick or McDonough will join them.
With the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association’s review of enrollments every two years and a change from three to four classes for soccer, Wyoming Area dropped to the small school level as a Class 2A team, the third-largest of the four classifications.
The WVC, in turn, realigned into two divisions with the Wyoming Area girls going to Division 2 with the other small schools (2A and 1A).
“I’m looking to be competitive in our small school league,” said Sitkowski, who would like the team to aim for double figures in wins. “As long as we’re getting strong leadership, which I believe we have this year, then talent-wise we’re OK.
“We’re just very young.”
Sitkowski expects Holy Redeemer, Lake-Lehman and Nanticoke to present the top competition in the division.
Wyoming Area was scheduled to open the season Friday against Meyers.
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